A black bear killed a Rutgers University student in New Jersey over the weekend in what is believed to be the state's first fatal bear attack in over 150 years.
Darsh Patel, a 22-year-old senior, was hiking with four friends in the Apshawa Preserve on Sunday when the bear began pursuing the group, The New York Timesreports. According to a police report, the hikers fled in different directions and later contacted local authorities to aid in the search for Patel. Search teams located Patel's body a few hours later. A 300-pound male black bear was euthanized at the scene, CBS reports.
"As we grieve over [Patel's] tragic passing, please know that our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones and to all his friends and fellow students at Rutgers," said Rutgers chancellor Richard L. Edwards in a statement posted to the university's Facebook page.
Black bears are not typically aggressive toward humans, but may have smelled food that the hikers were carrying in their packs. The hikers may have also exacerbated the situation by running, which can trigger a bear's predatory instincts.
Biologists advise anyone confronted by a black bear to stand their ground, make loud noises, and try to appear as large as possible. Black bears can dash at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour over short distances, making it all but impossible to outrun them.